Sorry I’m late. I was traveling from Nanjing to Xiamen all day yesterday. Here are some new articles I had published this past week.
1. Societies Change, but the Beer Remains the Same, Roads and Kingdoms
My personal title for this one is, “Drinking Beer with a Gay Anti-Communist in Saigon.” I was just walking around on an outdoor bar street there during my visit and met Quan, and he was very friendly and liked to talk.
Food vendors pushed three-wheeled carts down the street. Motorcyclists slowed and swerved around pedestrians who couldn’t use the sidewalk because it was filled with plastic stools and people drinking. As I walked along, drinking a can of 333 Beer, a massage girl handed me a brochure.
“Back in the day, they killed and confiscated the land from the landlords,” Quan said, referring to the Viet Cong. He had invited me to sit at a table with him and his other friend, also named Quan, and he was telling me about how his grandmother suffered during the war. “They buried my grandmother in the ground up to her neck. By the time peasants rescued her, she was paralyzed.”
Twenty-one years ago, Sanders was saying very much the same thing before voting for bills that caused the prison population to skyrocket. In Congress on April 13, 1994, in a speech a Sanders supporter shared at the Daily Kos, Sanders denounced America’s prison system and blamed crime on poverty.
“…And Mr. Speaker, all the jails in the world, and we already imprison more people per capita than any other country, and all of the executions in the world, will not make that situation right. We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails.”
That was April 13, 1994. After uttering those words, Sanders went on to vote for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994) and the Ominibus Crime Bill of 1994, a hallmark of Bill Clinton’s “tough on crime” agenda.
On the debate stage, there have been spirited discussions and arguments about taxes, Social Security, immigration, drug policy, criminal justice, and a wide range of issues. At the CNN debate, they went at it for close to ten minutes in a heavy debate about drug legalization. Paul made the strongest case anyone in either party has made for decriminalization, Jeb Bush admitted to his past marijuana use, and Carly Fiorina raised the personal costs drug addiction has had on families like hers who had to bury a child.